Warhammer 40,000 is set in fictional universe in the 41st millennium where a techno-religious mankind is beset by alien enemies and traitors within. The history of this universe is one of the most complex of all fictional gaming systems, having given rise to dozens of novels, countless articles, video games and even a few movies. In a nutshell, the story line picks up a few thousand years from today when a leader, called the Emperor, united the warring factions of humanity and leads a Great Crusade to colonize much of the known universe. Genetically enhanced warriors called Space Marines lead this endeavour and supply much the narrative of Warhammer 40,000. At the apex of territorial expansion in the 31st millennium, the Emperor is betrayed by his most trusted general Horus who leads half of the Space Marine Chapters in rebellion and forms a pact with the gods of Chaos (same for principal gods as in the fantasy Warhammer university: Khorne as the god of war, Slaneesh as the god of decadence, Nurgle as the god of decay, and Tzeentch as the god of change). This period, known as the Horus Heresy brings mankind to the brink of destruction and only ends when the Emperor slays Horus in person combat after being mortally wounded himself. The Emperor is entombed in the Golden Throne and mankind slowly turns to revere him as a god. Fast forward to the 41st millennium and humanity battles countless foes in a fractured confederation that has lost much of its understanding of technology. The overall theme of Warhammer 40,000 is a mix of pseudo-religion, high tech that is only partially understood, and mankinds eternal war against aliens and itself.
History: Warhammer 40,000 is one of the two core systems offered by Games Workshop (well, technically Epic used to be the third core system but those days are sadly long gone). It has been around for about three decades but really came into focus in the 90’s as the pre-eminent science fiction wargaming system. The game is currently in its 6th edition (as of 2014) and advances to a new edition approximately every 4 years. The game is supported by a massive range of miniatures which is possibly the largest in the world of wargaming. Older models are pewter, later are plastic or the new “Finecast” resin recently introduced by Games Workshop (which sucks…).
Scale: Warhammer 40,000 is supposed to be 28mm “heroic” scale though the models continue to grow in size over the years. These days, 30mm – 32mm is about right as the “real” scale of the models.
Basing & Painting: Most Warhammer 40,000 models are based individually on 25mm or 40mm round bases. The larger scale offers some opportunity to be creative with basing and I usually try to add a bit of character to the model by adding rocks, cork (painted as rocks) and different types of vegetation to the models.
Accessories: Due to its scale, Warhammer 40,000 benefits from tons of small pieces of scatter terrain in addition to larger terrain items such as buildings. Small barrels, ammo crates, razor wire and so forth all works very nicely.